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Brexit - live updates: Theresa May's EU deal under threat from DUP over Northern Ireland border dispute

Theresa May leaves Brussels without securing an agreement on terms of Britain's withdrawal from the EU

Theresa May's EU deal under threat from DUP over Northern Ireland border dispute

Theresa May is trying to keep her Brexit plans afloat today after her Northern Irish political partners blocked her attempts to secure a withdrawal agreement with the EU.

The Prime Minister was set to call the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party to convince her to back her proposals for what should happen with Northern Ireland’s land border after Brexit.

Downing Street has indicated Ms May hoped to be back in Brussels before the end of the week to secure the agreement, after the DUP refused to accept plans that could have seen Belfast following a different regulatory regime than London.

But the fallout has highlighted Ms May's dependence on the DUP, and given her opponents the chance to pressure her over her failure to secure the deal so far.

Labour has called an urgent question in the House of Commons today, giving Sir Keir Starmer another chance to shout about the major problems the Government finds itself in.

Ms May is planning to return to Brussels before the end of the week, as time runs out to persuade leaders of the remaining 27 EU nations "sufficient progress" has been made to move Brexit negotiations on to their second phase.

The next phase would deal with trade and the transition to a new relationship, but if Ms May fails to move forward new questions will be raised in Tory ranks about her own ability to see through Brexit.

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Good morning, welcome to The Independent's Brexit live blog.

We'll be bringing you the latest on the UK Government's attempt to settle the Irish border issue after Theresa May left Brussels on Monday with no agreement with EU negotiators.

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Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Tory leader, has tweeted to say any Brexit agreement must be UK-wide. 

Ms Davidson said: "The question on the ballot paper asked voters whether the UK should stay or leave the European Union - it did not ask if the country should be divided by different deals for different home nations.

"While I recognise the complexity of the current negotiations, no government of the Conservative and Unionist Party should countenance any deal that compromises the political, economic or constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom.

"All sides agree there should be no return to the borders of the past between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

"Similarly, jeopardising the UK's own internal market is in no-one's interest.

"If regulatory alignment in a number of specific areas is the requirement for a frictionless border then the Prime Minister should conclude this must be on a UK-wide basis."

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The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, has insisted he is "very confident" the Government would be able to make progress on Brexit negotiations over the coming days. 

Speaking to reporters as he arrived for a scheduled meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels, Mr Hammond said: "This is a very complex set of negotiations. There are many moving parts in it, there are many parties involved.

"We are very confident that we will be able to move this forward. Discussions are going on right now and will go on throughout the day."

He added: "We have made a lot of progress over the last weeks. We have made tremendous steps forward. We are very close, but we are not there yet.

"As the Prime Minister said yesterday, we will have to do some further consultations, further discussions, today and she expects to come back to Brussels later in the week."

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Nicola Sturgeon has said if one part of the UK can retain regulatory alignment with the EU and effectively stay in the single market, there is "surely no good practical reason why others can't".

Ms Sturgeon said there was now an opportunity to push for a Brexit deal which could keep the whole of the UK in the single market and customs union, and challenged others to back such a position.

She tweeted: "This could be the moment for opposition and soft Brexit/remain Tories to force a different, less damaging approach - keep the UK in the single market and customs union.

"But it needs Labour to get its act together. How about it Jeremy Corbyn?"

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NEW: David Davis is to respond to a Commons urgent question on Brexit at 12.30pm

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Ruth Davidson has said that the whole of the UK should remain in “alignment” with the EU’s customs union if it is the only way to secure a frictionless border in Northern Ireland.

In a statement, the Scottish Conservative leader said: “If regulatory alignment in a number of specific areas is the requirement for a frictionless border, then the Prime Minister should conclude this on a UK-wide basis”. 

She suggested that providing one party of the UK with a special deal in the Brexit negotiations would compromise the political, economic and constitutional integrity of the union. 

Ms Davidson’s comments came after Theresa May was forced to leave Brussels on Monday with no agreement. Her hopes to move the negotiations onto phase two – discussing a future relationship and trade – were derailed after the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) rejected the deal on the cards at the eleventh hour.

The party – responsible for propping up Ms May’s fragile Government – appeared to be blindsided by the UK’s apparent concession of “regulatory alignment” on both sides of the border, to avoid checks in Ireland.

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